A few years back, I found the trick to indulging in donuts without the immanent guilt. You don’t fry them. You bake them. And with the vegan pumpkin donuts, I think I’ve found the winner, especially for fall.
The pumpkin lends a mild sweet earthiness to the donuts, but it is the moist factor that ratchets up to 500 that takes the cake and the bakery. It makes them fluffy, tender, and succulent. Add in buttermilk from vinegar and almond milk, and the moisture in these babies remains intact no matter what you do.
How to Make Vegan Pumpkin Donuts?
I’ve used this recipe countless times, and believe you me - it’s a keeper. The only special thing you’ll need is a donut tray, and if you don’t have that, bake them in a muffin pan!
From start to finish, the pumpkin donuts take 30 minutes, and if the pumpkin puree is already prepared, then even less. Not that the puree takes much effort.
Take about 500 grams of pumpkin. Peel them, and dice them. Now you have three options:
- Cook them in a little bit of water, in a saucepan with a lid tightly snapped shut.
- Toss them in a bit of oil and roast till they are soft.
- Use a steamer.
Irrespective of which method you use, in 15 to 20 minutes, you’ll have about 250 grams of puree. I like the consistency as-is, but you can make it smoother and finer by running it in a blender or mashing it with a fork.
Once the puree is ready, putting together the donut batter is quick work. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Fold in the whisked wet ingredients (vinegar-milk mixture, coconut oil, pumpkin puree, and vanilla extract) in the dry gently.
Baking the vegan pumpkin donuts
The donut batter is thick – similar to that of a cake. Spoon it in the greased molds of the donut pan. Fill only three-fourth of the way because the donuts rise beautifully!
I don’t spoon the batter. I fill a Ziplock baggie with it. Snip off one end and then pipe the batter in the cavities. This gives me better control while dispensing the batter.
As I said before, it is impossible to dry these babies. The puree and buttermilk additions keep the baked donuts soft, succulent and scrumptious. So much so, you can store in the refrigerator for a couple of days and they'll still be soft.
But do keep an eye out on the bake time. Test by inserting a skewer in the center.
How to make pumpkin pie spice?
If the puree is what gives the pumpkin donuts its addictive texture, then it’s the pie spice that hooks you in with the aroma. You can find the recipe for the pumpkin pie spice in my Chocolate Pumpkin Swirl Muffins or Pumpkin Orange Pancakes.
You can always tweak it as per your palate. If you’re pressed for time and want to hurry along the donuts, stick to cinnamon powder and dry ginger powder. Although truth be told, the pie spice brings the best out of pumpkins. So, don’t omit it.
Variations of vegan pumpkin donuts recipe
Buckwheat is my trusted flour for all things gluten-free. I’ve used it before for my baked cinnamon donuts. You can use whole wheat flour as I did for my lemon poppy seed donuts. You can even do half ‘n’ half with whole-wheat and all-purpose.
Coconut sugar, raw sugar, or regular white sugar, take your pick. All of them work gorgeously in the recipe. Instead of coconut oil, any neutral tasting oil will be a good choice. You can even use melted butter.
For the milk, I remain loyal to my homemade almond option. But any milk of your preference will do. Just make sure that you add the vinegar and let it rest for some time. The curdled buttermilk will make the pumpkin donuts airy as a cloud with a springy chew.
Serving the vegan pumpkin donuts
We are not fussy with our baked donuts. We don’t need a mug of coffee or a cup of tea to enjoy them. We don’t even need to dust them with sugar or glaze them. Warm out of the oven or straight out of the fridge; we’ll dive into the treats at any time and in any shape.
That said, I wanted to give the pumpkin donuts a touch of decadence. So, I dipped them in melted dark chocolate. Some were half dunked and some just the top. For a bit of crunch and deeper flavor profile, I sprinkled chopped hazelnuts right at the end.
This is, of course, a completely optional step. You can skip it and jump straight to relishing the fabulous and definitely healthier than their fried counterpart donuts. Or you can garnish them with almonds, walnuts, or pecans.
When we bake, we tend to pay attention to taste and texture. The vegan pumpkin donuts give you both without any effort. They’ll be tender, moist, and lovely. That’s the pumpkin in it.
But what we often pay no heed to is the fragrance. The aroma of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg coming through with every bite elevates the donuts to unforgettable. That’s the pumpkin pie spice in it. If for nothing else, then give the recipe a try just for the scent wafting through your home.
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Vegan Pumpkin Donuts
- Donut Pan
- 3/4 cup Almond milk You can use any milk of your choice
- 1 tbsp Apple cider vinegar
- 1.5 cups All-purpose flour
- 1.5 tsp Baking powder
- 1/4 tsp Baking soda
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Pumpkin spice Recipe in the notes
- 1/2 cup Raw sugar You can use any sugar you prefer.
- 3/4 cup Pumpkin puree Recipe in notes
- 3 tbsp Coconut oil You can use any neutral tasting oil or melted butter
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
Chocolate Glaze ( Optional)
- 1/2 cup Dairy-free dark chocolate/ 70% dark chocolate, melted
- 1-2 tbsp Hazelnuts, chopped You can use any nuts you prefer
- Preheat the oven to 180 C. Grease cavities of a donut pan well.
- Combine the almond milk and vinegar in a small bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes.
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
- Whisk all the liquid ingredients - almond milk mixture, pumpkin puree, coconut oil, and vanilla extract in another bowl.
- Pour over the dry ingredients and mix until combined. You should get a smooth, thick pouring consistency batter.
- Spoon or pipe the batter into the prepared pan, filling 3/4 of the way.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let the donuts rest for 5 minutes in the pan before turning them out on a cooling rack.
- For the topping, dip the cooled donuts in melted chocolate, sprinkle over the nuts. Let the chocolate set for a few minutes. Serve and enjoy!
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